Across the Atlantic Ocean

Gold star of david hanging from branch against blue sky
Fighting rages on
across the Atlantic Ocean
on the shores of the Mediterranean–
captives quiver in fear
as buildings topple
and innocent lives are taken away.
But on this side
on these shores of the Atlantic,
a different fight is being waged
and it’s not a fair fight.
It’s not a fair war
on college campuses
in rural towns,
in the biggest cities.
Jews are afraid,
we hear words of terror,
threats of violence
and we see posts calling
for ceasefire
without acknowledging
the hundreds of captives
still lingering hidden
cowering in the strip.
My family calls me everyday
hoping to hear my voice,
hoping to hear my calmness,
hoping to know that i’m alive,
hoping to know nothing has happened.
I used to wear a kippah every day:
to the store,
the bar,
the pharmacy,
the restaurant,
to work,
to visit friends
and anywhere else I needed to go.
But today I take it off when I leave
my job in the office of the synagogue,
I take it off when I get to the parking lot
and hide my Star of David,
cover my Hebrew tattoo
and I sometimes will even
wear makeup
to change the shape of my nose.
I am a convert–
the Jewish struggle was not my own.
The Jewish people were not my own,
Jewish blood was not my own.
I have no family survivors of the Shoah,
my ancestors did not come
from the shtetls,
from the Temple,
from the desert
or from the sea.
My family came from the rolling hills
of Ireland, and yet
my face
my nose
my star
makes me afraid.
Fighting rages on
across the Atlantic ocean
and I have friends in the war.
Fighting rages on
across the Atlantic Ocean
and innocent children are dying.
Fighting rages on
across the Atlantic Ocean
and yet I am afraid
I am a jew
but I don’t want anyone to know
I am a jew
but I am afraid
and right now a part of me
wishes I wasn’t a Jew anymore
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